Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

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For many of us, finding a fantastic deal on a flight is not merely exhilarating, it's also a necessity. Unfortunately, bargain-hunting can be frustrating, not to mention time-consuming.

The good news is that there has never been a better time to cash in on great deals on airfare. "Airlines are losing money, so these are the best airfares you're going to get," explains Chris Lopinto of ExpertFlyer.com, a subscription-based online travel-planning tool that helps people save money and time on booking flights by providing them with tools such as flight alerts and seat availability.
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Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

For many of us, finding a fantastic deal on a flight is not merely exhilarating, it's also a necessity. Unfortunately, bargain-hunting can be frustrating, not to mention time-consuming.

The good news is that there has never been a better time to cash in on great deals on airfare. "Airlines are losing money, so these are the best airfares you're going to get," explains Chris Lopinto of ExpertFlyer.com, a subscription-based online travel-planning tool that helps people save money and time on booking flights by providing them with tools such as flight alerts and seat availability.

Couple the trend with a few tried-and-true, money-saving tricks (for example, did you know that flying on a Tuesday as opposed to a Wednesday can save you up to 20 percent on airfare?) and you've the got the recipe for finding affordable flights.

Read on for the top ten ways to travel for less!

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

When airlines are offering multiple options per day for heavily traveled routes-like Los Angeles to New York, for example-it's worth it to stay open on your departure time. Leaving during higher-traffic times can hike up your price. "If you want to leave in the morning, investigate the three or four departures offered during that time period," Lopinto suggests. "Moving your departure time by just one hour, on your departure or return, may save you a significant portion of the ticket price."

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

Can't be flexible on times of day? Consider changing your actual day of travel. Moving your departure or arrival day by one or two days can make a big difference. The most traffic-heavy (and consequently the most expensive) days to travel are: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Book on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday and you can often find a rate that's up to 20 percent cheaper. The difference in price can often make up for another day's stay at a hotel, and meals to boot.

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

It's always easier to take a direct flight, but connecting flights often offer the biggest bang for your buck. Says Lopinto, "It may add a couple of hours to travel time but it may be worth the hundreds of dollars you might be saving." There's a limit to this rationale, of course-while an extra two hours of travel time might be well worth the savings, an extra six hours might be unacceptable. Instead of spending hours searching for the best combination of price and travel time on individual airline websites, head to TripAdvisor.com, which allows you to search by price and total travel time. The more flexible you're willing to be, the more affordably you'll fly.

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

We're bred to be brand loyal, but switching allegiances can result in big savings if you play your cards right. Your best bet for maximum savings? Subscribe to e-mail alerts for every carrier in your area (you can easily find this information by going to the website of the airport nearest you-most airports have an "airlines" tab that lists all carriers). With so many routes being highly competitive, carriers are forced to drop their airfares- sometimes to a drastic degree-in order to stay competitive with one another. And with sales often happening for a short period of time-and on short notice-e-mail alerts will keep you on top of the changes, and often, get you a great deal.

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

If you have a credit card that awards you points toward airfare or a frequent flyer miles that you've built up with a specific airline, now is the time to cash in on those benefits. "Airlines are giving away more award seats than ever before," advises Lopinto. Best of all, you can often use those award miles at the last minute-a far cry from the days when it sometimes took years to cash in on earned air credit. Frequent flyers can benefit from online sites like ExpertFlyer.com, which allows users to search for award tickets and upgrades based on airline, destination, and travel date.

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

Airmiles aren't just great for saving you money on flights-you can also use them to enhance and upgrade your travel experience. Often, booking a flight on points will cost you roughly 25,000 credits, and there aren't always a lot of seats to choose from in that point range, at which point the airline often suggests using double miles. Next time this happens, ask about business or first class awards. Believe it or not, these seats can be available for the same, slightly more, and-at times-even less than the double-point coach seat!

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

It's tempting to leap on the first great deal you see, but taking the time to check out competing sites and airlines can help you find even better bargains. Even after you book your trip, it pays to keep track of the airline's fares leading up to your trip with a fare-tracking site such as Yapta.com. Even if you can't negotiate with the airlines to lower the price of your original ticket, you can always request a voucher for the difference (minus the change fee) for future travel.

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

The fares you see today won't be the fares of tomorrow, and as the economy becomes more stable, people will become more confident about spending money on travel again. Don't have the money for airfare, hotel, food, rental car and the works right now? As long as you have the money for airfare, you're golden. Even booking a year in advance means you've netted yourself a great deal on airfare, and the time to save up the rest of what you need to go with it.

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

Booking at the last minute can be risky and isn't recommended if your travel dates are hard and fast. If you do have the luxury of traveling at the last minute, however, your chances of bagging a bargain increase significantly. If an airline is facing the possibility of breaking even or losing money on a particular route, they will frequently slash airfares the day before departure to entice travelers to book. Check fares on your route of choice 2-3 days before takeoff to see what deals are out there.

Surefire Strategies For Saving Money On Flights

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